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UK Launches Online Tool to Help Determine Financial Benefits of Divorce

What is the most important factor to consider when deciding whether to divorce? Your partner's emotional health, the good of your children, the institution of marriage itself? What about money?

A UK government body recently set up an interactive online calculator to assist individuals considering divorce and separation in determining the financial benefit to each party. But the calculator has caused a bit of a stir among critics, who say that it undermines the sanctity of the institution of marriage by reducing divorce to a financial decision.

Critics also say the calculator doesn't take into account the emotional effects of divorce upon parents or children. Some critics point to statistics showing that marriage provides, in addition to greater health and happiness, better financial stability in the long run. But supporters defend the calculator as simply providing neutral information for individuals going through the difficult decision of whether to obtain a divorce.

The calculator is available on the website of the Consumer Financial Education Body, established by the Financial Services Authority. The basic setup directs users to enter information regarding income and assets, expenditures and liabilities, as well as various scenarios for the breakup itself.

While the UK divorce and separation calculator is merely a point of interest to American observers, it is true that the decision to seek divorce involves a variety of difficult decisions involving the care of children and division of property. Divorce laws vary by state and often involve a good deal of judicial discretion. Property division can often be a complicated and controversial aspect of divorce, as disenchanted partners frequently have difficulty determining who should get what and how much each should get.

Regardless of what one feels to be the most important factor in seeking divorce, breaking up usually involves a number of difficult decisions, and financial concerns are always going to be part of the picture.

Source: Daily Mail Online, "Divorce calculator puts price on your marriage: Government body's online gadget that undermines commitment," December 31, 2010

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